Dennis also offers a mixed bagged wild bird hunt in Arizona. Birds hunted are Mearns', Gambel's and scaled quail and mourning dove. In most years it is possible to bag all three species of quail over a three day hunt. Most of the hunting for Mearns' quail takes place on the Coronado National Forest. Gambel's and scaled quail are hunted on state land and private land.
Montana: Big Timber: September 1 – October 7
Montana: Lewistown: September 15 – November 30
Arizona: December 1 – February 10
I and my guides will supply field transportation, access to hunting property and dogs. You are welcome to bring your own dog(s). We will clean, package and freeze your birds for you. You need to supply your own field transportation if you bring more than one dog.
Montana: Dennis and his guides operate out of the Big Timber and Lewistown areas. These areas are known for their diversity of upland bird habitats. The hunting terrain consists of short and mixed grass prairie, sagebrush steppe, juniper and ponderosa pine savanna, stubble fields and mountain foothills of the Crazy, Judith, Snowy and Beartooth Mountains. Hunts are conducted between 3,500 and 5,800 feet above sea level.
Arizona: Dennis operates out of the Patagonia and Tombstone areas. The hunting terrain consists of desert grasslands and mesquite lined washes in the basins, and Madrean oak grasslands along the mountain foothills. The mountain ranges in this region are the northern extension of the Sierra Madres. Hunts are conducted between 3,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level.
Montana: Our guided upland bird hunts begin September 1 and end November 30. Arid conditions are typical in our part of Montana. Mean precipitation is less than 1.15 inches per month during the hunting season. Day time temperatures may fluctuate 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit. Daily high and low temperatures change as the season progresses: You may be hunting in shirt sleeves at the beginning of September, by the 1st of October in a light overcoat and by mid-November you may be hunting with snow on the ground. You need to be prepared for inclement weather at any time of the season.
Arizona: My Arizona quail hunting begins December 1 and ends the first week of February. Most years you can expect dry sunny days with morning lows in the low 30s and highs in the mid-60s. However, if there is an entrenched “El Nino” weather pattern there can be periods of winter rains.
Montana: I have two hunting venues in Montana. We hunt Big Timber from September 1 through early October, and Lewistown from late September through November.
Big Timber Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive at Bozeman or Billings airport. Rent vehicle. Drive time to the Grand Hotel in Big Timber is a little over an hour. Settle in and have dinner.
Days 2 - 4: After your 6:00 a.m. breakfast I or one of my guides will pick you up for a day of wild bird hunting on one of the several private ranches I have leased. Lunch is served in the field. We usually get back to the Grand by 5:30 p.m.
Day 5: Depart Grand Hotel after breakfast. Note: You may add as many days to your hunt that you wish.
Day 1: Arrive at the Billings airport. Rent vehicle. Drive time to the Calvert Hotel in Lewistown is a little over two hours. Settle in and have dinner.
Days 2 - 4: After your 6:30 a.m. breakfast I or one of my guides will pick you up for a day of wild bird hunting on one of the several private ranches I have leased. Lunch is served in the field or if the weather is on the chilly side, we will have lunch at a local café. We usually get back to the Calvert by 5:00 p.m.
Day 5: Depart Calvert after breakfast. Note: You may add as many days to your hunt as you wish.
Day 1: Arrive at Tucson airport. Rent vehicle. Drive time to Patagonia or Tombstone is about 1.5 hours. I recommend staying at the Duquesne House B&B in Patagonia and the Holiday Express in Tombstone. Go to the Arizona quail page of my website, montanabirdhunts.com for more information.
Days 2 - 4:
After your 7:30 a.m. breakfast I will pick you up for a day of Mearns’ quail hunting on the Coronado National Forest or day of Gambel’s and scaled quail hunting on state lands. Lunch is served in the field. We usually get back to your lodging by 6:00 p.m. There are no restrictions on the number of days you may hunt, but most folks hunt at least three days. I recommend at least a three day if you wish to bag all three species of quail on your hunt.
Montana: (September 1 – November 30)
Big Timber: Huns, sharp-tailed grouse, blue grouse & ruffed grouse.
Lewistown: Huns, sharp-tailed grouse, sage grouse & pheasant.
Arizona: (December 1 – February 10)
Mearns’ quail, Gambel’s quail, scaled quail & mourning dove.
Some clothing you should bring: safety glasses, a foul weather jacket, rain pants and coat, briar proof pants or chaps, hat with a visor, lightweight leather field boots (vibram soled), wool socks (you’ll get blisters from cotton), sweater or wool shirt, sunglasses, lip balm, sun screen, water bottle, camera, fluorescent orange cap or vest, gloves and a game vest. Boots lined with a waterproof membrane are recommended for days when it rains. You must supply your own shells and gun. A good ice chest is needed to transport your birds.
Q. Are gratuities customary?
A. One of the most common questions I am asked about is regarding gratuities. Gratuities are not expected but appreciated. It is common that guests leave a gratuity for our staff and many ask what the normal gratuity amount is. In order to help, here are a range of the normal gratuities recognized by our hotel staff (where appropriate): 15-20% for meals including bar tab; and for our guide staff $60/day/gun. Again, we strive to provide you the best service possible regardless of gratuity.
Q. What shotgun gauge, chokes and shot should I bring?
A. Bring a shotgun that you shoot best. However, prairie birds tend to flush at a distance and you will be handicapping yourself by using a 410 or a 28 gauge. You will also cripple more birds. For safety reasons we require that you use a break-action double barrel shotgun. For double barrel shotguns I recommend IC and Mod chokes (skeet and IC for AZ). Generally speaking a 1 oz to 11/8 oz field load of number 6 or 7½ hard lead shot will handle most situations. However, late season pheasants and sage grouse require high-brass heavy dram loads of number 5 hard lead shot.
Q. What are your area attractions?
A. Go to the visit Montana web site for Montana statewide and regional information.